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Can anyone beat a Publix Sub?

We love to get Publix sandwiches for picnics on the beach. Fresh, made to order, with good multi grain bread. Had the idea today to try something different. Went to Williams Subs on Tyrone Blvd after reading good reviews. Can not recommend this place. The meats were not very good quality, the bread was flavorless white bread with little texture or chew. Only two cheese choices provolone or shredded mozzarella which is kind of strange. The service was friendly, but the atmosphere was rather worn and dirty. Kind of surprised it has been there for 50 years.

So, where are else can you get a good sub sandwich? Not Cubans or Banh Mi, but just a good cold cut sandwich on good bread.

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  1. Not sure where you live, but I'll take a Jersey Mike's #13 (Original Italian sub) over a similar Italian sub from Publix. I grew up eating Publix subs, but Jersey Mike's makes the best Italian hoagie-style sub I've had outside of my one trip to Philly.

    Their chipotle cheesesteak is excellent as well (as good as the cheesesteak I had in Philly, if not better), but Publix doesn't make a cheesesteak for purposes of comparison.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

      I live in Gulfport so a place between here and the beaches would be best. I have not tried Jersey Mike's because I thought it was a chain, something which I try to avoid. I do think Publix makes cheesesteaks now, but I've never ordered one.

      On the subject of Philly one of the best sandwiches I ever had was at DiNics in the Reading Terminal Market if you get back up there. Roast Beef, broccoli rabe, and provolone...better than any "cheesesteak"!

      1. re: floridaeater

        Jersey Mike's is a chain, but let's face it -- so is Publix. Definitely give it a try some time, especially the Original Italian.

        And I went to the Reading Terminal Market TWICE during my one trip to Philly. Tried DiNic's roast pork sub with provolone and sweet and hot peppers (didn't know about the broccoli rabe at the time) and an Italian hoagie from Salumeria, which are two of my all-time top sandwiches.

        1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

          I'm with Lou

          I like the Jersey Mike's roast beef better. They make it on premises and it's very tender. Publix uses boars head meats which I also like.

          You can go back and forth comparing though. Publix has a better selection of sub rolls while JM only carries white and wheat.

          Both are good but sometimes I'm just in the mood for one and not the other.

    2. A buddy of mine graduated from FSU and moved to Atlanta, said he needed to live near a Publix or on the way to/from work, because of their subs...

      1. Try the subs at Mazzaro's in St. Pete.

          1. re: byrd

            +1 on Felice. Easily at the top of my list. But again, not convenient to get to being in Palm Harbor.

          2. Don't think we have Jersey Mike's in Pinellas County, I've seen them in S. Florida.

            If I don't get Publix I usually get sandwiches from Panera.

            17 Replies
            1. re: redfish62

              Yes we do have them. I know of one on Roosevelt Blvd in St. Pete and another one on Tampa Rd. in Oldsmar

              1. re: redfish62

                You may have a Wawa near you. This is an old standby Philly chain that has decent hoagies.

                1. re: sal_acid

                  We're starting to get Wawa in Orlando, and I already love their Italian hoagies. I like that they offer four kinds of peppers: hot (banana), sweet, roasted red, and typical pickled sliced jalapenos.

                  1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                    There are two locations of Wawa going up in Pinellas Park.

                    1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                      Wawa is a wonderful thing. Not the best hoagies, but a darn good baseline. Their cheesesteaks are terrible. Meatball sandwiches are pretty good.

                      Jalapenos are foreign to a Philly hoagie. Hot banana, sweet and roasted are legal. The bread is critical. I'd imagine that Wawa contracts with a local bakery to do it right. Amoroso's rolls suck...no density or crust. Their exalted rep is all advertising and is undeserved.

                      1. re: sal_acid

                        "Amoroso's rolls suck...no density or crust. Their exalted rep is all advertising and is undeserved."

                        --- said no one, ever....

                          1. re: Mild Bill

                            Oh really? Got the real stuff down in Fla, do you? The Amoroso's supermarket rolls are soft insubstantial stuff. Great shelf life, bad hoagie roll. More like a kaiser roll. A real Philly Italian bakery roll like a Liscio's, Serpe's etc is vastly different. You can disagree but you'd be wrong.

                            1. re: sal_acid

                              who cares how they do it in Philly? i'll take my philly on Cuban bread.

                              1. re: andy huse

                                Well put Andy...

                                A pressed Cuban loaf at that.

                            2. re: Mild Bill

                              Thank you Bill for the perfect response. Much like Gonnella rolls for Italian Beef in Chicago, there's a good reason why Philly loves Amoroso.

                              1. re: jeff6806

                                An advertising slogan. But have it your way. You know more than we do up here.

                          2. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                            I LOVE Wawa. I grew up with Wawa and love most of the stuff I get there. +1 for great hoagies, chicken sandwiches (bbq sauce, provolone, honey mustard, lettuce, tomato - toasted) and the soft pretzels are addictive (they are usually somewhat cold and soggy but for some reason I crave them). They used to only come in packs of 2 and I would have to give away the 2nd one to prevent me from eating it.

                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                              I spent all my junior high and high school days outside of Philly. Spent a lot of time at Wawa's,, but I never remember buying too many hoagies there. Obviously Wawa's have changed a lot since those days, since I see the ones they're building down here are 30+ gas pump megamarts. Most of the Wawa's I Wawa's I went to up there didn't even sell gas and were little tiny places smaller than or the same size of most 7-11's down here.

                              I do agree that it is difficult to find a good sandwich down here. I don't call them hoagies here, because they are normally totaly different......and finding sweet peppers is next to impossible.....no one knows what you're talking about....they all say "We have banana peppers"!

                              1. re: kempshark

                                I know, I was stunned to see sweet peppers as an option, along with the roasted red peppers (both a refreshing change from the banana peppers and jalapenos every other sub chain offers).

                                They're building two Wawas near my job, including one I'll pass twice a day on my way there and back. I can't wait!

                                1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                  Yeah, I started eating good hoagies (and cheesesteaks) about 32 years ago when we first moved up there. There used to be a place out by MacDill (over on or near Bayshore) that had hoagies similiar to up north....think the guy was from Jersey. I can't remember the name of the place and don't know if its still there. Last time I was there was probably around 1990 or so.

                                  Was just looking around online and think I may have been thinking of Chubby's. Was very good back in the late 80's to early 90's, but I guess it has changed owners twice since then.....looks like mixed reviews now.

                            2. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                              I do like the extra options and the sandwich is pretty good I put it up there, not sure I like it over Publix or Jersey Mikes though. I need to try it a few more times.

                        1. Big Stein's Deli at 9001 4th St. N in St Pete is the only place that competes with Publix.

                          1. I have to strongly disagree with your opinion of Williams Subs. I love their spicy tomato relish, and the bread is fresh fresh. It ain't Amoroso's, but what is? That reminds me, next time you're nearby, there is a vegetable stand in the parking lot of the Walmart adjacent to Williams Subs. They have a section of Greek foods, and occasionally they have these wonderful loaves of Italian bread for $1.99. Do yourself a favor and pick one to take home.
                            I live on Treasure Island, and there is an Original Pizza, located across the street from the Bilmar. Their subs are very good (I get the cheesesteak usually but hubby gets the Italian - loves it!). You may want to check them out also.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: joan

                              We are planning to head to T.I. this weekend for the kite festival so I will try Original Pizza. How is the pizza there? We were not offered the tomato relish at Williams so that may have helped. The bread delivery was actually out on the tables when we were eating so maybe we just got the last of the previous order?

                              1. re: floridaeater

                                Hi floridaeater - I can see why, without the tomato relish, you'd be underwhelmed - especially with the bread situation. I'm sure you're right about that. As for Original, I haven't had their pizza in years so I cannot say. Next door is VIP - if you like Mexican they have a great "Chicago Wet Burrito" and their gold margaritas...well don't plan on driving after one of those! By the way, since you'll be in TI, you could also check out the cuban sandwiches at the Floridian (on 107th on the right on the way towards the beach). My favorite Cuban around, and be sure to get the black beans and rice cup to go with. Have fun!

                            2. There's a small hole in the wall place in Alamonte Springs on 436 called Lawless that makes a tasty sub. They bake their own bread and it's at least as good as, if not better, than Publix. I grew up in Philly and appreciate good hoagies and cheesesteaks on good bread. It's in the same center as The Battery Store.

                              1. I second RibDog's suggestion of Mazzaro's Italian Market in St. Pete - with their fresh bread and quality meats, their subs are amazing!

                                Another suggestion is Lenny's Sub Shop on Kennedy near Westshore. I haven't been for awhile, but they used to be really good.

                                1. I definitely second (or third or fourth) Mazzaro's. Great sandwiches. Also the Floridian is good for Cuban sandwiches as someone else recommended.
                                  As for my suggestion, on Gulfport Blvd, going toward Pasadena Ave, there is a small strip mall right before Sweetbay on the right side of the road. There's a Greek deli and restaurant there, Spiro's. I love their Italian and Classic Italian subs and all my friends who have ever tried it love their subs. The meats are good, the bread always tastes fresh, and the dressing they put on them is fantastic. I'd recommend getting dressing on the side so you can control whether it's soaked in it or not. If you really hate white bread I don't think they have any other options so that might be a dealbreaker.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: jeff6806

                                    I drive by Spiros almost every day and say to myself I should stop and try that place. In fact my dad said they have a good produce selection as well, have you an opinion? I am familiar with Mazzaros and think its a great place. I have only bought meats and cheeses and bread there which are all awesome... Oh yeah they might make a good sandwich too lol.

                                  2. Well, it's not close to where you are looking but I'll throw Cesarina Deli & Bakery in Largo into the mix. They make some pretty darn good subs.

                                    1. Have you tried Colonial Corner on 49th St. N, just south of Park? It's a tiny Philly kinda place. Very solid subs and cheese steaks.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Tom Scherberger

                                        Never had a sub from there but their cheesesteaks and clam chowder on Fridays are great.